Bunnie Jackson-Ransom is the President and CEO of firstClass, Inc. - a full-service public relations and marketing firm founded in 1975. She has been the driving force behind firstClass for the past 39 years--conceptualizing the company, working with clients and implementing its programs.
- Educated in the public schools of North Carolina, she received a Bachelor of Science in Business from North Carolina College and a Master of Science in Business from North Carolina Central University. Graduating magna-cum-laude, she worked her way through college; and it is that same attitude that has propelled her and firstClass into prominence. More recently, she was presented with an honorary Ph.D. degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta.
The professional and volunteer service career of Bunnie Jackson-Ransom spans some forty-five years. During this period, she has effectively been a college professor at Bennett College (Greensboro, N C) and at Georgia State University in Atlanta, a governmental agency official at Economic Opportunity Atlanta, a business owner and mentor to many young women who aimed to follow in her footsteps.
While serving as President and owner of firstClass, Ms. Jackson-Ransom responded to a request to manage the careers of several performing artists; and from 1978 through 1988, she was the Chief Administrative Officer of a conglomerate company under the umbrella of Atlanta Artists. She began her career in the music industry after she had already distinguished herself as a business woman in the areas of education, government and public relations. As President of Atlanta Artists Management, she was also responsible for the daily activities of Atlanta Artist Productions and Atlanta Artists Records, and managed the recording career of acts such as CAMEO and Larry Blackmon and The SOS Band. Ms. Jackson-Ransom managed multi-million-dollar record sales, toured the world with performances and promotions, negotiated production deals for her artists and carried these recording artists to gold and platinum record status.
When she moved to Atlanta, in 1965, she immediately joined the local chapter of the NAACP and had been active ever since. Ms. Jackson-Ransom continued with her career in community services at Atlanta’s anti-poverty agency, Economic Opportunity Atlanta. Her job included going into different urban neighborhoods, working with neighborhood leaders who were associated with the individual Neighborhood Service Centers, listening to expressed needs of residents, and writing grants and proposals to secure funding. She was responsible for successful grants which were funded and resulted in the many community programs throughout Atlanta including Atlanta Legal Aid, Head Start, the Southside Comprehensive Health Center, Sickle Cell projects and many more.
From 1970 through 1976 (and as the first lady of the city) she was involved in several programs, as a volunteer, in the area of the arts. She was responsible for the return of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater to the stage in Atlanta. Through her volunteer work with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Dance Atlanta in the early 70’s, she met Alvin Ailey and asked him to come to Atlanta—and he came. She single-handled brought the first major African American art exhibition (art created by a Black artist) to the High Museum by talking the director of the museum into letting her hang an exhibition by Ernie Barnes in the galleria (the lobby) of symphony hall because they didn’t want to hang the art of this black artist in the official museum art gallery. Without any funding from the museum, she raised funds to create a catalogue of Barnes’ art; had the art crated, shipped, insured, and hung the art in the galleria; hired security and staff to show the art; hosted a reception; donated prints to the boys and girls clubs; and sold enough art to pay for the exhibition. Because of the success of this exhibition, the High Museum invited other Black artists – including Bennie Andrews and Romae Bearden – to exhibit. She served on the board of directors of the Atlanta Symphony and tried to talk the symphony into inviting Gladys Knight and the Pips to perform with the symphony. This later became a reality.
Who’s Who in American Women, Who’s Who in Georgia, and Who’s Who in Black America from 1981 to the present; she was also named Who’s Who in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 1992. She was presented with the Bronze Jubilee Public Awards in 1984; “America’s Top 100 Black Business and Professional Women” by Dollars and Sense Magazine in 1985; and the Black Journalist Awards in Community Relations and Event Planning for 1992 and Public Relations for 1993. She was named among the list of “Women of Influence” by the Atlanta Business League in 1997 through 2008; and received the Millennium Pacesetter Award from this organization in 2003. She has been cited for community service by the West Hunter Street Baptist Church; the Atlanta Public Schools; the U. S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons; University John-Hope Homes; The Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta, the Partnership Against Domestic Violence, and received the Ground Crew Award in community service from SCLC in January, 2008. The Atlanta Business League (ABL) inducted First Class, Inc. into the Business Hall of Fame in 2008. Most recently, she received “Woman of the Year” award from the National Association of Professional Women in 2012/2013, the “Leaders Legacy” Award from the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Women in 2014, and a Good Corporate Citizen’s Award from the Voter Empowerment Collaborative in 2014.
In the fall of 2010, Ms. Jackson-Ransom put her unique combination of public relations and marketing knowledge, her vigorous professional skill, and her 38 years of experience into a book entitled Getting the Word Out: How to Market Your Ministry. Published by The Interdenominational Theological Center, this 100 plus page book was created to provide a few “best practices” to help ministers, pastors and lay leaders to spread the gospel of deliverance in the 21st century. Recognizing the many changes in the marketing/communications world, the second edition of Getting The Word Out: How to Market Your Ministry, published in 2014, includes four new chapters and is already in demand from those who utilized the first edition.